The Hardest Climbs in the Tour de France 2023

The Hardest Climbs in the Tour de France 2023

While everyone loves to say "this year's Giro is the hardest" or "this year's Tour is the hardest" - this year's Tour de France 2023 is definitely something special in terms of the sheer amount of elevation compared to previous years. To boot, the climbs start from stage one. There's no "keep your sprinters in the race until stage X" as they might be over the time limit (OTL) from day one.

Stage Date Rank Elevation Gain (m) Climbs
1 July 1rst 10 3238 5
2 July 2nd 11 2943 4
3 July 3rd 14 2511 2
5 July 5th 4 3659 4
6 July 6th 5 3922 4
9 July 9th 6 3494 4
10 July 11th 8 3127 7
12 July 13th 9 3088 7
13 July 14th 12 2410 2
14 July 15th 3 4281 5
15 July 16th Queen Stage 4527 7
16 (ITT) July 18th 13 638 2
17 July 19th Runner Up 5405 5
20 July 22nd 7 3484 6

We break down the key climbs on the hardest stages and offer up our pick for the Queen stage of the Tour de France. We rank the stages based on elevation gain, if there's a mountain top finish, the steepness of the climbs, how far into the tour the climb is, and how close the climbs are situated together.

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Breakdown of every stage of professional cycling’s most prestigious race of 2023, the Tour de France, and how to bet and pick favourites.

Hardest Climbs

Here are our top three picks for the hardest climbs of the Tour de France 2023. Taking the top slot here doesn't necessarily guarantee that the corresponding stage will be the hardest. So keep reading for our picks for the Queen stage, runner up and rankings of the other hill climb stages.

#1 - Col de la Loze

This is an absolutely massive climb. Not only does it almost count as the mountain top finish to stage 17 (there's a few kilometres of descending right after it and then another decent kicker) but the ramps throughout undoubtedly classify this as the hardest climb of the Tour.

What are we looking at here? 9.2km @ 7%, 10.2km @ 8.5% kickers with a total of 28.3km at an average of 6%. That's a long, long time to be climbing at above 5%.

#2 - Grand Colombier

A classic for the Tour, Grand Colombier is 18km @ 7%, and right at the finish of what should prove to be a decisive stage 13. There's multiple stretches in there of greater than 9% and should prove to be a loud wake up call for the climbs in the days to come.

#3 - Col du Tourmalet

Stage six's Col du Tourmalet is another classic and well known to past tours. A brutal 17.2km @ 7.3%, it only ranks lower than Grand Colombier because it's right in the middle of the stage and not a mountain top finish. So while this will be the first major climb of the tour, huge GC gaps probably won't form.

#4 - Col du Joux Plane

Stage 14's Col du Joux Plane is an incredibly difficult 11.7km @ 8.5% right before what could prove to be a hectic descent finish. The stage is in the middle of a strew of stages with arduous climbs and the rider's legs should be aching after this one if they weren't already.

#5 - Puy de Dôme

Stage nine's Puy de Dôme, a solid 14km @ 7.7%, takes the fifth slot from a close sixth of Col du Soudet of stage five. While Col du Soudet has slightly more climbing involved, the steepness of Puy de Dôme and the fact that it's a finishing climb led it to snag the slot.

Hardest Stages

There's definitely a few stand out stages you'll want to mark down on your calendar. We'll start out with our pick for the Queen stage and our runner up and then dive into each specific climb stage.

Queen Stage

We've selected stage 15 as our Queen stage, also known as, the hardest mountain climbing stage of a professional cycling multi day stage race. None of our top five hardest climbs feature in the stage, but the quantity and quality of each of these climbs combined into lengthy 180km make this an easy pick for the Queen stage.

It comes after a brutal stage 14, so rider's will be coming in tired, and features nine climbs in total with the call outs being 7.2km @ 7.5%, 11.7km @ 7%, 4.6km @ 6.1%, 2.7km @ 10.1%, and then Le Bettex as the mountain top finish of 7.3km @ 7.8%.

Runner Up

Stage 17 easily slot in as our runner up stage. It finishes with a 1km @ 8% kicker so doesn't end on a descent and also features our number one hardest climb of Col de la Loze of 28.6km @ 6.0%.

The stage is also a non-paltry 167km with three more major climbs scattered evenly through of 13.5km @ 5.2%, 20.3km @ 6.1%, and 6.7km @ 7.5%. All told that an average of 17.5km per climb.